Love

“Lord, I LOVE him!  I absolutely LOVE him!!  I recognize that others may see an imperfect shell and see ‘disabilities’ but I don’t care about any of it.  I just love him.  I don’t need him to be perfect in order for me to feel love towards him.  I really really love him…so much!”

…and in the quietness of my heart the Lord whispered back…

“And I LOVE YOU!  I don’t need you to be perfect.  I don’t see your disabilities.  There’s nothing you can change to affect how much I love you.  I just really really love you!”

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“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.”  I John 3:1

I See You…

Dearey children, you are the most precious gifts ever given to me.  When I was a girl, a teenager, a young adult dreaming about my future I never could have dreamt I’d have children as amazing as you….and certainly didn’t know I’d be blessed with so many. ;)  You are more than I ever desired or hoped for!  I know that God didn’t go out of His way to bring your mom and dad together from Minnesota and Washington just to give us a great marriage, but because he had seven children in mind that were destined to be born for such a time as this.  The callings on your lives are great!  His plans far exceed your expectations!

2.5 years ago our lives sure changed, didn’t they?  Our family dynamics changed.  Our relationships changed.  Our faith was tested.  Our priorities shifted.  Today I want you to know that no matter how busy I may be or how crazy life may get, I see you…

I saw you when Judah was in the hospital.  I saw your confusion. I heard your questions. And I appreciated your patience to let Mommy and Daddy wait until the right time to give you details.

I see you lay hands on Judah and speak healing over his body. I see you lay hands on his blanket, turning it into a prayer cloth. My heart swells with pride.

Isaac praying over Judah

I see your compassion when Judah is crying.  You stop what you are doing to run and find a pacifier, blanket or toy.

I see you patiently waiting for help on your school while I finish feeding Judah.

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I see you coming out of your room at night asking to share your heart.  We need that one-on-one time, sometimes, don’t we? It’s important you continue to share and ask questions.

I see your tears when you see other children Judah’s age and realize how much Judah needs to learn to “catch up.”

I see your servant hearts when you help us with Judah’s therapy, hyperbaric dives, feeding Judah, and filling his diaper bag for outings.  I’m so thankful for your help!

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I see you in church asking others for agreement in prayer for Judah’s complete healing.

I see your concern that something may happen to Malachi.  He’ll be healthy and strong.  No need to fear – trust the Lord!  Malachi is a restoration gift from heaven.

I see you worship. I see you studying the Word. I see you praying. I know God is strengthening you.

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I see you stand up for other children with special needs when those around you are uncomfortable or unkind.  Way to go!  I’m proud of you!

I see you enjoying your brother…laughing when he’s silly, teaching him new words, snuggling him when he’s sleepy.

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I see your tears when daddy or I leave for a weekend away in Gainesville.  Our home isn’t the same when any of us are away.

I see you run Judah’s stinky diapers out for me with a happy attitude. You’ve never complained. :)


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Ellianna and Judah

Josiah and Judah

I see your sadness and frustration when it’s harder for us to plan outings, or field trips, or play dates because of Judah’s needs.  I miss how easy it used to be to go out for lunch after church, or spend an afternoon at a park.  We’ll be able to do all these things again soon.  It’ll get easier.

I see you stay calm when mom and dad feel frazzled.   You’ve forgiven us each of the many times we’ve asked for forgiveness for losing our patience and peace.

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I see you out of the corner of my eye, listening and observing as Mommy shares her heart and sometimes tears with close friends and mentors…thank you for not interrupting.  Mommy is getting stronger. I promise. :)

And kids, not only does Mommy see you and Daddy see you; but your heavenly Father sure sees you.  He reminded me of this at our recent fundraiser.  Each of you asked if you could participate in the raffle.  I was hesitant at first, but then felt that it was important for you to feel a part of the special night.  I was absolutely astonished when I saw each of you win the exact item you had your heart set on.  All evening I pondered the fact that not only did God remind your Daddy and I that He sees us, He sees Judah, He sees our needs…but He definitely sees each of you as well and He blessed you with the desires of your heart that evening.  I know He is so proud of each of you.  You have already stored many treasures in heaven. :)

Josiah, Isaac, Ellianna, Rhema, Adonai, Judah and little Malachi in my tummy… I love you!  It’s an honor to be your Mom!

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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Thank YOU!

Our hearts are so overwhelmed with thankfulness for all of you who made Judah’s BBQ FUNdraiser possible!

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Friday night was so special to our entire family!

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 We feel honored by the number of people that arrived to support our little Judah.   What a wonderful treat to spend an evening chatting and playing with so many friends.

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Planning a fundraiser for my own child is something that 10 years ago I never would have pictured would be in my future.  It’s completely out of my comfort zone and a very humbling experience.  Robin, Tracy, and Judy there is no way I could have planned this fundraiser alone.  I’m in awe of the way you took my small idea of a family bbq picnic and created something big and exciting.  All-Stars 4-H – YOU ARE AWESOME!  They helped prepare ahead of time, helped set-up, helped serve, and helped clean-up.  One of the families sold and delivered “to-go” meals to their neighbors – if I remember correctly it was close to 30 meals they delivered!  

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 And to all of you who volunteered your time, donated raffle items, and donated food and other necessities – THANK YOU!  This was not possible without you!

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Because of the donations that came in we are able to continue needed therapies for Judah.  The money from Judah’s account covers many things for Judah.  Here are a few examples.

* Anat Baniel Method – we are so thankful we found Josie Davenport in Gainesville, FL.  It wasn’t until we began visits with her that Judah began showing much interest in movement.  When we are consistent in our monthly visits we see the most results.  The difficulty has come in being consistent.  The cost is simply too high for us to pay out of pocket.  Our goal is 5 days each month.  That cost is therapy is $600 plus gas, hotel and food.

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* Ophthalmology – The best way to monitor whether Judah’s shunt is working is to check his optic nerves on a yearly basis.  We were referred to a great doctor, but he is not covered by our insurance.

* Optometry – Judah’s vision is checked every 6 months at a wonderful clinic in Tampa.  Their practice is not covered by insurance.  Nor the cost of glasses and replacement lenses.

* Pediatrician – Our favorite pediatrician is also in Tampa and not covered by insurance.  He’s been a tremendous encouragement to us.  First, he explored deeper into what may have caused the brain bleed instead of focusing his attention only on what may have prevented it.  Through genetic testing he did find Judah has a double chromosome linked to bleeds.  He also started Judah on nutritional supplements, b12 shots, and BIGGEST OF ALL -the hyperbaric chamber!!  We LOVE our hyperbaric chamber!

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On a more personal level this doctor’s son also had a brain bleed as an infant.  Because of that he’s able to relate to us differently and is understanding of my emotional moments. :)  We’ve only been able to visit him a few times as the cost is over $300 a visit.  But we are excited to see him again soon, hopefully before little Malachi arrives. :)

Because of your generosity $2,472 was given Friday evening at the event.  More donations came during the weekend bringing the grand total to $2822!!!  Wow!  We are in awe!!

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Thank you!  From the bottom of our hearts!  THANK YOU!

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Today is the Day!

What started as a small idea for a family BBQ picnic fundraiser  has turned into so much more, thanks to precious friends who have given or their time and energy to make this event a success!

Addie woke up this morning and asked in excitement, “Is it tomorrow??” YES!!!! Which means TODAY IS THE DAY!

Come join us at 9434 Tom Moore Road, Lakeland, FL 33810!! We’ll be there from 4:00-8:00 (The time has been extended!!!)

LOTS of awesome raffles! Cakes and desserts! Kids bicycles! Family Pass to Skate World! $25 to J. Burn’s Pizza! Thirty-one bags! Photography sessions! Mary Kay! And lots more!

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3 big bounce houses for the big kids plus a smaller one for the “littles.” Hay ride, train ride, face painting, photo booth and fun games.

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oh!! And LOTS of YUMMY FOOD!!!!

All proceeds go to Judah’s therapy fund which covers what can add up to $1000/month in costs for therapies and specialists. If you are unable to attend but desire donating towards Judah’s Journey click “Make a Donation” on the right hand side.  We love you all!  We have been absolutely blown away by your generosity and kindness!!

See you tonight!  

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Finding Balance

Exciting news!! Judah’s story is being used to help inform other parents on the importance of vitamin K!  It’s now on the CDC’s website. Check it out!

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vitamink/judah-stories.html

….Whoa!!  Wait a minute!!!  Did I just share a CDC website??!

If you know me at all you know I love a good ol’ fashion natural remedy.  I love herbs.  I love vitamins.  I love essential oils.  I love chiropractic care and massage therapists and holistic doctors and midwives and home birthing.

I think it’s so cool that I can give arnica (a homeopathic remedy) to my kids after they fall down or bonk themselves and they don’t experience much bruising or swelling.  I love applying RC (a Young Living essential oil) to my kids and seeing them breathe better and stop coughing.  I love that I can increase calcium and magnesium and drink some coconut water for potassium and the charley horses I experience at night during pregnancy go away!  I mean, really!  How cool is God that He made all of this available to us?!

But guess what else I now love?!  Balance!  It’s true, this once hard-core, all natural, home birthing mama is finding balance.

Two and a half years ago, in a matter of minutes, I was launched from an all natural world to a world swarming with medical doctors, hospitals, therapists, specialists and medicine.   Whoa!  What a complete shock!  There was no time to resist the change.  I jumped in.  I was determined to no longer question the doctors or their advice.  Just obey.

One of Judah's many precious nurses!  They were such angels to us!

One of Judah’s many precious nurses! They were such angels to us!

But I later realized that I, personally, could not jump from one extreme to the other extreme.  I could not jump from all natural home births to fully medicated hospital births (unless under the leading of the Lord or found medically necessary).  I could not abandon natural remedies to restock my medicine cabinet with only over-the-counter medicine.  There had to be a balance.  I could not put 100% blind faith into doctors alone.

Why?  Because the medical field is made up of imperfect humans just like myself.  Doctors make mistakes too.  There isn’t one perfect route to health.  There must be balance.  For example, after Judah was released from his initial stay in the hospital I noticed that his head circumference was growing rapidly.  I began reading about hydrocephalus, measuring Judah’s head, and looking at pictures of other children who had hydrocephalus.  I approached four of Judah’s doctors and pointed out how fast Judah’s head had grown.  They dismissed my concerns.  We called our pediatric neurosurgeon directly and told her how large Judah’s head was.  She insisted we not measure his head again since we had not been taught the proper way to do so.  She told us we were overly concerned and that we needed to relax and just wait to see her at our next visit.  That appointment was not until Judah was three months old.

The moment the surgeon walked into our room at that three-month check-up she instantly knew we had a problem.  She sent us downstairs for an MRI, and quickly began the process of figuring out how to schedule Judah for an emergency shunt surgery the very next morning.

Our sweet boy the day after his shunt surgery.

Our sweet boy the day after his shunt surgery.

A year later, one of Judah’s doctors showed me the MRI’s and pointed out the difference in brain damage from Judah’s initial bleed and from the hydrocephalus.  In those 2.5 months of being dismissed by doctors as an overly concerned parent the pressure of built-up fluid on Judah’s brain caused further damage.  I was devastated to see the difference and know it could have been avoided.

So now what?  Clearly neither side of the fence is perfect, so where do I take it from here?  My first step: Forgive and forget the past, and keep my eyes fixed forward.  I can’t afford to look back at my mistake or the mistakes of the doctors.  Would you know that since sharing publicly of the guilt I struggled with over not administering the vitamin K shot that I have not had one struggle with that guilt ever since???  Praise God! :)  And just as my mistake was unintentional I know the doctors’ mistakes were also unintentional.  God’s bigger than all of it!

Second step: Pray and find balance.  As I move forward I see my need for more wisdom and more prayer surrounding every decision made about the health of my family.  I can’t put God in a box.  He is not limited to only one way of bringing healing.  I have experienced supernatural healing in my body that came instantly in a prayer service.  I have witnessed God using a team of medical doctors to save my son’s life.   And I have used natural remedies successfully for a number of years……Balance…I am finding that balance…I’m so very appreciative of the doctors and therapists and midwives who have patiently walked with me as I ask questions, seek understanding, and, at times, take some extended time to seek the Lord before jumping in.  They’ve recognized that this is a new season for me and I’m thankful for their grace.

And I’m thankful for your grace as well.  The way you all have responded to me as I share this journey with you has been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me.  Thank you! :)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Mistakes, Regrets, and Finding Forgiveness

I don’t like making mistakes…at all!  As a girl I’d often fall asleep at night praying God would help me the next morning to have a perfect day with no mistakes.  I’d plan to make my bed, put my clothes away, obey everything I was asked to do (with a smile, I might add), perform well in school and in music and simply be perfect for one whole day.  Inevitably within minutes of my feet hitting the floor the next morning I had made some sort of mistake and I’d spend the rest of the day beating myself up over it.  The day seemed ruined.

It seems funny, but I lived that way for so long – a frustrated perfectionist.  Having children exemplified it.  Now, not only can I make mistakes that hurt myself, but mistakes that hurt my children.  Lord, have mercy!!  Like the time I was in the back room of our house lost in a phone conversation with a girl friend not realizing my two little boys were crying and searching for me, sure their mommy had left them.  Or the time our family walked into church only to realize we had left a toddler strapped in her car seat still sitting inside the minivan.   Sure, it was only a minute, but my heart broke to think she was sitting there so patiently watching us all walk away.  Good golly!

Chad has been so patient with me, often saying, “Krista, repeat after me, ‘I FORGIVE KRISTA.’”  I’d smile and repeat, “I forgive myself, I forgive myself, I forgive myself…”  But often in my heart I knew I hadn’t.  I replayed my mistakes over and over.  I think one of the hardest things for me to do is simply forgive myself.

My struggle grew out of proportion two and half years ago when I made a decision that some doctors would later tell me they believed could have prevented Judah’s brain injury.   This is something I have not shared with many, yet it’s been the darkest part of my journey with Judah.  So why do I share it now?  Because I’m determined to expose the enemy, the thief, the accuser of the brethren.  Because I know that freedom comes in revealing truth, not hiding pain in the dark.  Because I’m determined that 2014 is the year the Lord heals my heart, and this is an action step.  And I pray that my story will be a blessing to at least one person who may struggle with the same kind of regret.

Judah was born July 15, 2011.  We had called him our “praise baby” for months and his labor lived up to that nickname.  We praised God for a quick, smooth, beautiful water birth.  The children woke up soon after he arrived.  They all loved on him for a while then a precious friend stopped by to pick them up for a day of fun so mommy and daddy could rest and bond with Judah.  Chad helped pack everything up for the kids while my sweet midwife helped me fill out paperwork and get everything in order.  As you know, there are decisions to be made after your baby is born: when to clamp the cord, eye ointment, hepatitis B vaccine and the vitamin K shot, to name a few.

My midwife asked if I’d like to have the vitamin K shot.  I said, “no.”

I found myself hesitating for a brief moment.  Chad was busy outside of our room so I didn’t have time to confirm with him whether this was still our decision.  I dismissed my hesitation and stuck with the answer we had chosen for our past five children.  None of my children had received the shot and they had all been fine. . . why was I hesitating?  Until Judah, my children had been SO, so healthy.  I praise God for their health and see how easily I had taken it for granted.  We had never needed an antibiotic in those 10 years prior to Judah.  We never experienced an ear infection or anything more than a common cold or seasonal flu.  We might have used Tylenol a total of five times in ten years.  I truly took for granted how healthy we had been.  And my justification continued….I knew I didn’t have the typical risk factors…  My labor had been smooth without complications… And did God make every baby deficient in vitamin k?  In that moment I didn’t even remember all the reasons we had chosen not to do the shot.  I knew that way back when I first had Josiah there was speculation that the vitamin K shot was linked to childhood leukemia (that since has been proven false).  I did not do a good job researching the pros and cons of this shot, let alone praying about the decision.  And I did not think there was even the slightest possibility of anything wrong happening because of that choice.  Certainly a brain hemorrhage was nowhere on the radar.

Fast forward to our 911 call, our 10 days in the NICU, and doctors questioning us.  We are thankful they found answers and determined the cause of Judah’s brain hemorrhage to be Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding or VKDB also known as Late Onset Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn; but that news came with a sting.  “Had you given your baby the shot, this probably would have never happened….”  Those words would replay in my mind hundreds and hundreds of times.

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Some days are good….others are hard… Some days I feel such grace to see the positives in Judah – the joy and laughter he brings – and to celebrate what he CAN do instead of what he CANNOT do.  But then there are days that are so dark I feel paralyzed by the pain of regret.  It’s as if the enemy is on my shoulder saying, “Your life would be normal and easy if you would have just given him that one shot.  This is all your fault.  None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you.”  When I’m not regretting skipping the newborn vitamin K shot, my head fills with other regrets.  Why didn’t I catch on sooner that something was wrong?   Why didn’t I call 911 sooner?  If only we had sought intervention sooner the injury would not have been so devastating.  Maybe he’d be fine!  Our life would be normal!

While two doctors have blamed Judah’s injury on not administering the vitamin K shot, I’ve had other doctors say that it cannot be proven.  They’ve looked me in the eyes and said, “Krista, you cannot live this way.  You cannot live with that regret.  We don’t know what caused it.  And we don’t know for sure if the shot would have prevented it.”  Chad has held me in his arms countless times reminding me I cannot live like this.  I appreciate all of their words; but I know that freedom from the regret has to be supernatural and from the Lord.  It is too big of a hurt for mere words to heal.

Coming into 2014 my one prayer was, “Lord, heal my heart.”

And He’s been working….I sense it….each week becomes easier… I’ve been able to open up and share with others of my struggle and recently able to go forward and ask my pastor for prayer as well.  The only words I could get out through my tears was that I was living in regret that I had opened a door to the enemy to so strongly attack my son.  He laid hands on me with compassion in his eyes and allowed the Lord to work.  As I soaked in the presence of the Lord my heavenly Father started speaking to my heart.  “Daughter, every decision you have made for your children has been made out of love.  You did not make that decision to harm Judah.  You made your decision out of love for him and out of what you thought was best in that moment.  You love your children.  You love your children.  You love your children.”

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It was such an epiphany for me.  Simple, yet profound and true.  In that moment after Judah was born I made the decision out of love.  I didn’t wish these circumstances on my son or our family.  If I could go back in time and change my decision, would I?  Absolutely.  But I can’t.  I need to move forward.

I have to remind myself that Judah’s injury was not a surprise to God.  It’s not like He and His angels were up in heaven wringing their hands in despair when Judah was born saying to each other, “OH NO!  What will we do?!  They didn’t give Judah the shot!”  No, instead, they sent in re-reinforcements.  Countless people who were praying and have been praying and standing in the gap for our son, for his complete healing, and for our family.  Instead He sees Judah healed, whole and complete, lacking nothing.  And He sees Judah’s little spirit that is SO alive unto God.  He sees that Judah’s future surpasses his time on earth and this temporal body he’s in to an eternity in heaven with eternal purpose.

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God’s working.  Not only is He at work in Judah, He’s at work in my heart.  And He’s at work in your heart as well.  He sees you.  He knows you.  He is absolutely head over heels in love with you.  Every sin, every mistake, whether intentional or not, is completely forgiven and washed in His blood.  You are free as well!!!!!

I love you!  Thank you for being a part of Judah’s journey….and my own.

“…being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 1:6

(Special thanks to a new friend I met through the internet who has been so bold to share with others the importance of the vitamin K shot.  Check out her story! Why It Happened: The Truth About Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding.)

Judah Update :)

Ready for a Judah update?  :)

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 We are gradually easing back into “normal” life after being gone for nearly 3.5 months.  It was a much needed getaway for our family.  The Lord did so much in our hearts – we are forever grateful!  But now it’s time to jump back into therapy and doctor appointments. :) I’ll be taking Judah to Gainesville next week for 4 days of therapy.  The following week he’ll see three doctors in Lakeland, Orlando and Tampa.  Soon after that he’ll see his rehabilitation specialist and hematologist.  Thank you, again, for the support you’ve shown our family to help us cover these medical expenses.  Your generosity has blown us away!

We’ll also be jumping back into the hyperbaric chamber soon.  Chad has been busy, busy setting it back up.  I look back and wonder how in the world I spent two 1.5 hour shifts in that chamber every day.  Yikes!  But I know we’ll get back into a good routine.

Judah’s social skills seem to improve every single day.  It’s a lot of fun seeing his personality continue to emerge.  He’s imitating new words and sounds.  He’s interacting with his siblings more and even with strangers (if you catch him in the right mood) ;)

He’s saying:

“I say yes”

“Hi!”

“no”

“yes”

“Mommy”

“Daddy”

“Isaac”

“I see ya”

“Owee”

“Butts” – compliments of his Daddy – Judah loves making us laugh by saying “butts”

“Jesus”

“Hallelujah”

He tries his best to sing along with us as we sing “Wheels on the Bus” and “Jesus Loves Me” – it melts my heart!!!!  I absolutely love hearing him try to sing. :)

His vision continues to improve.  He notices when we walk away from him and lets us know he’s not pleased. :)  And when we come into his visual field he says, “Hi!”  It’s the cutest thing EVER!

He is more vocal about his preferences, specifically when he wants to go outside.  There are times he hears the front door open and close when the other children run out to play and he gets very angry if he’s not immediately taken outside as well.  I love that he’s showing us his desires and preferences.

My biggest prayer request at the moment is Judah’s eating abilities.  During our trip Judah developed thrush in his mouth.  It was painful for him to eat so he figured out a new way of eating.  When we’d put the food in his mouth he put his pacifier in his mouth to sooth himself and suck down the food.  At the time we were thankful he was eating – in whatever way he needed to.  But it’s become a habit that is proving hard to break.  We’re looking for a speech therapist who can help Judah learn to eat correctly, to eventually chew and eat textures, and to drink.  He doesn’t currently take a bottle or sippy cup.  Please agree with us for wisdom and divine direction.  All of our steps are ordered of the Lord.

SO MESSY!

SO MESSY!

And last but not least, the biggest update of all!!  Next June Judah will be a BIG BROTHER!!!!  (GASP!) This came as a complete surprise!  I admit I’m overwhelmed at the thought of a new baby coming along when Judah still has so many needs.  But I also know God can do so much in Judah in the next 7 months.  Our children are absolutely thrilled that we are having another child.  Isaac cried when he found out and admitted, “I thought you’d never have more babies after what happened to Judah, but I’ve really wanted another brother or sister.”  We are thankful for LIFE.  We love all of our children dearly – it’ll be exciting to fall in love with Dearey baby #7.

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Thank you for being a part of our journey. :)

We love you!

“Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” – Psalm 127:3

Look what The Lord has done!

 

Here are some before and after pictures from Judah’s MRI.  In the back is the original MRI at 3 months old. On the front screen is the MRI from Wednesday. The white area that you see is fluid that filled in where the brain tissue died away. You’ll notice that in the original MRI there is a little bit of brain tissue in the frontal lobe, but the rest was gone. In the front picture you can see considerably less fluid and lots more brain tissue!!!!  Our doctor said Judah has grown almost 50% of his brain back!

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Praise THE LORD!!!!!!!!!

And further good news is Judah’s vision has improved and his prescription was reduced! Oh Look What The Lord Has Done!!!!!!

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Look what the Lord has done for me! Luke 1:25a

Happy Fathers Day

by Chad Dearey

On a day that should mark the celebration of many fathers, many are internalizing this day with pain, confusion, regret, and abandonment.  Many sons and daughters are the casualty of a broken home where the dad physically, emotionally, or spiritually checked out.  Many look back at their childhood and can only remember the pain.  Many fathers are struggling today because they aren’t the father that they hoped to be.  They have tried time and time again to become a better man but they are inevitably left with disappointment because they fail in their role.  The hardest part is that these men were never taught how to be a father.  The greatest gift that was bestowed upon these men was turned over to television, to peers, to the mothers, to any vacuum that would suck the attention of this broken son or daughter.

But You, Daddy, You stepped in.  You said no more.  You destroyed the veil.  The separation that was upon us was torn into two.  You delivered to us a Savior.  One that gave us unrestricted access to You and Your Fatherhood.  You told us that you would never leave us, never forsake us.  You promised us.  And unlike any man, You have remained true.  You saw that we needed a Comforter, a Guide, a lasting Gift and you gave us the Holy Spirit.  Thank you Daddy for this day.  I celebrate who You are, the life that You have given and the promise of what is to come.

I speak to all of the daughters out there who didn’t have a true Dad.  It was not your fault. Your broken pieces can be easily be mended by one touch.  Peace, restoration and a sense of belonging are yours today.  You have a new Daddy, and every empty memory of your past will be replaced by the joy of another day with your true Daddy.

Men- I speak to you.  You have what it takes.  You may have failed.  You may have turned out distant like your father, but it isn’t too late.  Study your Daddy and learn His love.  Learn His acceptance, His pleasure, His delight.  Your value is not measured in what you do, what you have done, what occupation you have, or how much money you have made.  He takes pleasure in you today because you are His.  He heals all past wounds now, binds every lie that the enemy has spoken and frees you today from regret. Understand that you will fail and fail again if you continue to work this out on your own. There is a grace that is available so that you can quit striving, working, and fixing only to end up empty-handed. Today this grace is yours.

Young men – your identity is now in Christ. You are important, you are cherished, and you are a mighty man in the making.  Today marks the day when your Daddy enters your life healing the scars from your emotional, physical and spiritual pains.

Daddies who are running the race, who are rewarding their children with the true love of our Daddy – thank you, thank you, thank you.  You have given much.  You have decided that your legacy is more important than your lusts.  You have decided to step over from being a male to being a man.  You have shown your children that your wife is to be cherished, respected and pursued.  You have shown your wife that she can see a daddy who is present and who is laying himself down daily for the glory of lasting treasures.  Do not let up, do not slow down, there is a lasting crown that is waiting for you.

The difference between a good dad and a great dad is measured by the degree to which he points his family to Christ.  Daddy, I want to be a great dad.

200!!!

200!!!  200!!!  Can you believe it?!  Today at 6:30 am I climbed into the chamber for our 200th dive!  Amazing!!  In less than 6 months we’ve spent approximately 400 hours in the chamber.

Some doctors and therapists have told us not to expect too many results before completing 200 dives; but to expect our best improvements post 200 dives.  We are already so thrilled with the improvements we have seen in Judah; and we fully expect to see continued progress in our little man.  God is at work!

The most notable changes we see in Judah are:

* He can see!  The changes we have seen in Judah’s eye sight have been amazing!!  He recognizes us, scans the room, and looks at his toys.  It’s thrilling to our hearts!  On top of that, MY eyes have improved!  My contact lens prescription has reduced and the astigmatism in my eyes is GONE!  Praise the Lord!

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Reaching for a book in vision therapy

* He transitions to change easier.

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Judah loved the beach! He even enjoyed touching the sand with his fingers.

* His overall disposition is happier.

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This little boy LOVES his Daddy!

* He desires to move!  It is a joy to see Judah strive to move across the floor ~ to roll to his tummy and dig his toes in the carpet in effort to move forward.

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Learning so much with Mrs. Josie.

* He’s rolling SO WELL in every direction.

Look how far he went! :)

* He’s interested in toys!  In the past Judah only liked toys that made an interesting noise because he was so dependent on his hearing and not his vision.  These days Judah will grab anything he can find (a piece of cloth, a teddy bear, a plastic bowl, a blanket, or a toy) and hold it up in front of his eyes to look at it.

Playing with foil in vision therapy. :)

Playing with foil in vision therapy. :)

* Not only will Judah look at the toy, he’ll then put it in his mouth.  This is a great step to eventually learn to chew and eat textures.  I’m so happy to see him explore textures (and fingers) with his mouth.

looking at his teddy bear

looking at his teddy bear

*Judah babbles!  We love his little voice.  Sometimes it’s as if he’s carrying on a little conversation with us.  SO FUN!  He can say hi, dada, mama, doodah (repeats when we tell him to say Judah), stinky, yucky, ya or yes, and shake his head no. And many times a day he is imitating our sounds.  When we sing to him he’ll often try to sing along.  I love it! :)

Throughout the day, it’s common to hear Judah calling for Daddy. :)

Today I told Judah to say, “Ha, ha, ha! ” He repeated perfectly!  Next I said, “Say Ho, ho, ho!” And he repeated perfectly!  He’s learning EVERY day!  And he’s interacting with others more and more.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all of you who made the dream of purchasing this hyperbaric oxygen chamber a reality.  You are all a part of these victories!!

Here’s a little clip of our celebration in the chamber this morning. :) “Weeeeee!!!”

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:57